In what is likely a sign of continued expansion for one of the world’s top art fairs, Art Basel, which stages editions in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and Paris, has made two major hires for its leadership team. Hayley Romer will join Art Basel this month as chief growth officer, a newly created position, while Craig Hepburn will start at the company in October as chief digital officer.
Romer, who will be based in New York, was most recently publisher and chief revenue officer of the Atlantic, where she helped transform the venerable American monthly magazine into a multi-platform brand. Hepburn, who will be based in Basel, was most recently head of digital at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), where he helped launched its first streaming platform.
These two new hires represent a continued shift in Art Basel’s leadership structure over the past several years. Last year, the company hired Vincenzo de Bellis, then a curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, to serve as its director for fairs and exhibition platforms. Later in 2022, Noah Horowitz returned to the company as CEO. Both roles were newly created. Similarly, each of Art Basel’s fairs now has directors in charge of each edition; historically, the company had regional directors for Asia and the Americas who oversaw the Hong Kong and Miami Beach fairs, while the global director oversaw the Basel fair.
In a statement, Horowitz said, “I am incredibly excited and honored to welcome Hayley and Craig to the Art Basel team. I am confident that their broad-ranging expertise, skills, vision and ambition will be instrumental as we map the next chapter of our business and seek to unlock and accelerate new opportunities for galleries, artists, collectors, partners and the broader arts ecosystem. Together, there is so much more we can do to continuously elevate and innovate our offering and to reimagine the role that Art Basel plays in the world of art.”
In her role, Romer will “lead an integrated growth strategy that seeks out new and innovative ways to engage and positively impact Art Basel’s expanding audiences—bringing more value to galleries, artists, established and emerging collecting communities, and art enthusiasts around the world,” according to a release.
In an emailed interview with ARTnews, Romer said, discussing her tenure at the Atlantic, “Transformation is necessary for every single business to thrive and survive; this is especially the case in today’s ever-evolving, fast-paced media landscape, in which people are riddled with choice and frequently changing the ways they engage with brands. Critical to The Atlantic and to all successful organizations is a deep understanding of the brand’s unique value, and of how it delivers on that value against its audience’s unique wants and needs.”
She continued, “This is exactly the context for my work at Art Basel. As Art Basel’s first Chief Growth Officer, there is a real opportunity to shape, together with our team, a new integrated growth strategy for the business from the very outset, rather than implementing or working around predetermined ideas or initiatives. This is exciting. It allows OUR team to focus in the short- and long-term on innovating across our four fairs and year-round platforms, and on creating new opportunities both within the art ecosystem and beyond for our clients.”